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Distributed Energy Seeing new possibilities

Evolution of energy

The energy landscape is in a state of flux – moving rapidly through a period of decentralization towards localized energy sources. As increased demands for energy put more pressure on existing energy infrastructures, businesses are looking for alternative sources of power - sources that are more affordable, resilient, flexible and more environmentally sound. 

Driven by industrial-scale digitization, advances in energy technology are now in a position to provide the solution – distributed energy. 

Cost-efficient and easy to integrate, distributed energy is enabling businesses to take greater control of their own power supply and turn energy from a cost to an asset. It’s also making the ‘cleaner, greener’ energy sources that businesses – and their customers – demand more accessible. Businesses are starting to discover the wide-ranging benefits of transforming from energy customers into energy creators through alternative energy generation.

“The opportunity is huge, and the impact of these new technologies has already been proven, with many of our customers deploying distributed energy systems”

– Jorge Pikunic – Managing Director, Centrica Business Solutions

What is distributed energy?

Distributed energy is the on-site generation, storage and delivery of power for businesses of every size.

Forward-thinking businesses are moving to lower carbon energy sources and reducing energy waste by embedding sustainability at the heart of their energy strategy. By utilizing a variety of different technologies to analyze, generate, store and even sell power, businesses can improve operational efficiency by lowering energy costs and carbon emissions and strengthen their business resilience by controlling their own energy sources – giving them the flexibility to react quickly to any changes in market or environmental conditions.

Distributed energy landscape

Businesses need a strategic approach to energy

There are four main reasons why businesses need to be more proactive about energy management:

  1. Non-commodity energy costs are rising – these are obligatory charges passed on from third parties and they will continue to inflate. Businesses who don’t find new approaches to energy management will end up paying more and lose a business advantage over their competition.
  2. Energy resilience is becoming harder to achieve – the grid is becoming more volatile and supply gaps more frequent due to extreme weather events. Businesses reliant on the grid face a growing threat to their core business operations.
  3. Where uncertainty increases, so does risk – the uptake of new energy technologies is accelerating. Businesses must take measures to safeguard against the impact such innovation will have on energy supply.
  4. Employees and consumers expect sustainability – there is a growing demand for brands to be greener and embrace energy efficiency. Those that lag behind risk losing reputation and market share.

Distributed energy is an opportunity for businesses to become more future-proof and ensure a reliable, continuous energy supply to power their daily operations. It will significantly lower energy bills in the short term and give more flexibility and responsiveness in the long term.

Why should businesses consider distributed energy?

The benefits of distributed energy are many and far reaching:

  • Optimize the way your business uses energy
  • Align energy management to your overall business objectives
  • Move from energy user to energy creator – driving additional revenue
  • Strengthen your energy resilience to protect against future energy uncertainty
  • Drive your sustainability agenda forward

Putting distributed energy to work

In this new energy landscape, businesses can now turn their energy use from a running cost into a value-generating asset that drives efficiency, powers growth and helps to deliver a real competitive advantage.

Energy insight solutions, based on Internet of Things (IOT) technology, let you see exactly how your business uses energy – giving you the energy intelligence you need to choose the most effective solutions for your business. Power-creation and renewable energies like photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, cogeneration and battery storage are more affordable now than they’ve ever been, making them an increasingly cost-efficient way for businesses to take control of energy.

Combine these with the ability to sell the surplus power onto the grid through demand management solutions such as Demand Response (DR), and the energy market is no longer a one-way street.

28%
increase in energy consumption by 2040 is predicted**
30%
of global electricity can now be produced by wind and solar PV***
$287bn
invested in global clean energy technologies in 2016****

Is distributed energy right for you?

You should be exploring distributed energy generation if your business:

  • Has high energy usage and spend
  • Has increased use of electricity – heavy infrastructure as part of core business functions
  • Relies on having a secure energy supply for mission-critical functions
  • Needs to upgrade a dated energy infrastructure
  • Is experiencing regulatory or compliance issues
  • Comprises a large-scale site and facilities

Sources:
*https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/22/climate/americans-global-warming-poll.html
**https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/ieo/
***https://www.iea.org/topics/cleanenergytechnologies/
****Bloomberg, Clean Energy Investment End of Year Report, 2016